After pleading guilty to illegally dumping oil at sea, and then trying to cover it up, Carnival’s Princess Cruises was recently fined $40 million. This latest incident involved Caribbean Princess, following information gathered by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) from an unhappy engineer aboard the vessel when it arrived at Southampton in August 2016.
The MCA shared the information with the US Coast Guard, who inspected Caribbean Princess when it arrived at New York in September 2016. The Chief Engineer and Senior First Engineer had hidden the apparatus used, and made the other engineers agree to lie about the methods. However the Coast Guard established that the dumping had been going on since 2005, initially using an unauthorised valve to dump waste, and later using a “magic pipe”. One of the worst incidents was the dumping of over 4,000 gallons of oil whilst only 23 miles off the English coast.
Similar practices were found on four other Princess ships, and included routinely clearing oily bilge water and bilge waste whilst near land.
This court action followed a similar case in October, when two German shipping companies, part of Bockstiegel Reederei, pleaded guilty in the US federal court to illegally dumping waste and were fined $750,000. And in September two Greek shipping companies, Oceanic and Oceanfleet, were convicted of illegal dumping oily waste in the Pacific. In March 2016 two other German companies, part of Briese Schiffahrts, were similarly fined $1.25 million plus a $250,000 community service charge for using a “magic pipe” to discharge oily waste.
The US Environmental Protection Agency is continuously checking all vessels in US waters in attempt to improve water quality and the environment.